Fast casual Indian cuisine in Atlanta, Georgia.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Two boys grew up in Nashville, Tenn., left their home state for college and, somewhere between Chicago and Los Angeles, began wondering why they couldn’t more easily find food that tasted as good as their mom’s.
So they decided to open a restaurant based on her recipes.
This true story isn’t actually that unique. What makes it interesting is that the boys just so happen to be Indian-Americans. And their goal to make Indian food more approachable is not only working, it’s winning awards.
“As teenagers we devoured our mother’s food,” says Neal Idnani, co-founder of NaanStop.
What’s more, “We noticed that our friends and neighbors loved our mother’s food, too,” says his brother and co-founder Samir.
NaanStop—the clever name plays with naan, the word for Indian flatbread that sounds like “non”—began as a food truck in Los Angeles. Confident in their initial success, the brothers moved to Atlanta and opened a restaurant near Georgia State University.
Their goal: To make home-style North Indian food accessible for everyone. Thus their menu is organized simply. Step 1: Choose a base of naan, rice or salad. Step 2: Choose a protein of chicken tikki masala, turkey sausage, garbanzo beans, cheese or lamb. Step 3: Choose a chutney sauce, from mild to hot. Sides like Masala fries and naan are also available as well as an assortment of beverages. Everything on the menu is priced under $7.
“All of our recipes have been passed down from our grandmother to our mom and now to us,” says Samir. “We spent months in the kitchen with them learning, watching, and translating recipes from ‘a little of this and a little of that.’ Then, we took those recipes and came up with the Naanwich”—fresh naan wrapped around classic Indian spiced meats or paneer with sautéed onions and peppers, fresh spinach leaves and a choice of chutney.
With the exception of the ‘native Indian hot’ chutney, spice levels are pleasant, with flavor rather than heat the clear focus. Don’t miss the toasty naan flatbread, stuffed with either chicken tikka masala or chola (garbanzo beans simmered in a light tomato-based gravy with onions, garlic and ginger).
With its time-tested recipes, fast service and the owners’ winning personalities, NaanStop is sure to be a hit in its current location, perfect for business lunches or breaks between classes.
Odds of Encountering Children: Possible, and with all menu items priced under $7, this restaurant is an attractive dining option for parents of children who will eat more than chicken fingers, fish sticks and hamburgers. But based on the restaurant location, you’re far more likely to encounter students enrolled in Georgia State University than in KinderCare.
64 Broad St. NW
Atlanta GA 30303
-Photos Courtesy NaanStop